Serpico [based on the book] by dir. by

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Based on the true story of Frank Serpico, this is the story of a police officer who turns whistleblower and ends up exposing a lot of police corruption in the NYPD in the 1960s and 70s. The films tells his story from when he joined the police force through the sixties, up to his shooting while on a drugs bust in 1971. In 1972 Serpico retired from the force, just one month after receiving the Medal of Honor.

Serpico is one of those films I’ve heard about for years, but never watched, I never even really knew what it was about until I followed an internet trail concerning Ferguson, and corruption in the police in the US, and mention was made of Serpico in some article of other, and how nothing had really changed since then.

And I had the dvd in my collection so I figured, lets throw it on, see what’s it is like.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I didn’t find the film all that gripping. It was a bit long and the pacing was quite slow. Yet it didn’t have anything to show for that slowness, there was no great character build-up, no great tension being developed. It was simply recounting the story of Frank Serpico.

I don’t really understand the hype about this film. Yes, Pacino plays it very well, some of the scenes he is in are gripping. But as a whole the film didn’t work for me, it felt very pedestrian. Maybe that is because since then we have had other films covering the same territory? I don’t really know.

I’m glad I watched it, but I don’t think I’d be watching it again.

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3 Responses

  1. anne says:

    Oh no! I'm so sorry you didn't love that movie! I was entirely blown away when i watched it – as much by Pacino's acting as by the sheer balls on the real-life guy behind the story. (There was so much tension to me!) Then again, i love 70s thriller/political movies, though they probably are dated to everyone else.

    • fence says:

      I did think Pacino was doing a great job, but for me we never got to know Serpico enough.

      But horses for courses :) It'd be a boring world if we all enjoyed exactly the same stuff

  2. anne says:

    For SURE. ;)